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Things to do in Mooloolaba and surrounds

21 Nov 2017

Let the holiday vibes wash over you, relax, and start living on coastal time. 

Mooloolaba is the place where beach holiday dreams come true. Everything you could possibly desire in a beach vacation is right at your fingertips - beach holiday bliss guaranteed!

Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba Beach has featured in TripAdvisor’s top 10 Beaches list two years running - and it's not hard to see why.  Acres of golden sand, clear waters and a gentle beach break make this stretch of coast one of the best places to pitch your beach umbrella and get some vitamin sea. Spend the morning in the water and then stroll up to the Esplanade's vibrant restaurant strip for lunch, or camp out under your umbrella for a relaxing afternoon snooze. You could swim, eat, sleep, repeat for your whole holiday - but you'd kick yourself for missing out on an Absolute Adventure Hire Hut Mooloolaba SUP, jet-ski or kayak adventure. 

Mooloolaba Beach.
Mooloolaba Beach.

Early morning coastal walks

Coastal walks are a morning ritual for locals on the Sunshine Coast, so rise early to go a little native on your next holiday. Watch the dawn break over Mooloolaba Beach as you head towards Alexandra Headland on an easy 20-minute stroll to arrive at one of the most instagrammable spots on the Sunshine Coast. Keep walking, and you'll arrive at Cotton Tree, where the river meets the ocean. Grab a coffee from the Alex Heads Surf Club on the walk back and finish off your stroll with a dip at the beach before heading to Acai Brothers for breakfast of superfood goodness. 

Early morning walks are a daily ritual in Mooloolaba.
Early morning walks along the coastal pathway are a daily ritual in Mooloolaba.

Dining

The dining scene is hotting up in Mooloolaba. Newcomer, Backlane Bar & Tapas is making quite a buzz, and the much anticipated launch of The Dock in December this year is on every foodie's hit list. Of course, Mooloolaba is no stranger to premium dining, with Spice Bar's delectable Asian-fusion cuisine recognised in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards as a gastronomic must-do. Just down the Esplanade is Augello's Ristorante & Pizzaria which holds the title for 2017's 'World's Best Pizza', and Gainsbourg - a little bistro with a reputation for generous serves of scrumptious, locally-sourced fare and excellent coffee. The Boathouse Restaurant in Mooloolaba Surf Club has all-day dining and you can choose from club classics to mod-Oz creations. Still hungry? Check out our guide to the best eats and drinks in Mooloolaba and surrounds

Scallops to share from Backlane Tapas & Wine Bar.
Scallops to share from Backlane Tapas & Wine Bar.

Shopping

Lovers of antique and fine jewellery will be smitten with the exquisite range of vintage style baubles at Avenue J Couture in Mooloolaba (underneath Mantra Zanzibar). From Edwardian diamond and pearl ‘bow’ rings to art deco diamond ear rings, Avenue J is the place to source some timeless bling or holiday keepsake. 

Just a short drive away is the largest shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast - Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore. Flex your credit card at some of the centre's 220 specialty stores, which include leading fashion chains, bookshops, giftshops and a Myer department store. Built across Cornmeal Creek, the centre’s ‘riverwalk’ is lined with eateries serving up delicious nosh from breakfast ‘til late in the evening – the perfect place for late-night hangs after catching a movie at the centre’s Event Cinemas. 

Maroochdyore's Nights on Ocean is an artisan market held on Ocean Street and Duporth Avenue on the second Friday of the month between 5 pm and 9 pm. Stroll the street to sample an array of international foods and be entertained by local bands, buskers and dancers. You'll also meet local crafts people selling an eclectic range of hand made arts, clothing and jewellery. It's a great night out for all ages. 

Mooloolaba Esplanade.
Mooloolaba Esplanade is a bustling retail and dining precinct.

Sea Life Sunshine Coast 

Nope, it's not just for kids - although they'll be guaranteed an awesome time if you bring them along. SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Explore and interact with thousands of sea species through 11 unique marine zones including the tidal touch pool housing sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers - and yes, you can touch them. There's also a seahorse sancturary, and if you're lucky, you'll see the elegant courtship dance of these delicate sea creatures. And, did you know that all the cool jellyfish hang out at Jellyfish Kingdom? This zone is a specially lit series of tanks that turn the pulsating movements of these softbodied sea creatures into giant, living lava lamps! After something a little more immersive? Then sign up for a cage-free shark swim or a swim with a playful rescue seal. There's so much to see and do at this iconic aquarium, be sure to put it on your holiday must-do list.

Grab an underwater selfie with a manta ray or a grey nurse shark at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.
Grab an underwater selfie with a manta ray or a grey nurse shark at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.

Parkyn Parade Seafood Precinct

You can't come to Mooloolaba and not try a Mooloolaba prawn. You'll find these tender and flavour-packed shellfish gracing menus right across the Sunshine Coast, but nothing beats a prawn that's just come off the trawler. Parkyn Parade Seafood Precinct is a working port and your go-to for sourcing the freshest seafood on the Sunshine Coast. Pack a picnic, stroll to Parkyn Parade and order a kilo of Mooloolaba prawns from one of the many retailers that line the shore. It's a short walk back to the beach to find a spot to drop your towel and dine alfresco on some of the freshest seafood you're ever likely to eat. 

Mooloolaba prawns straight off the trawler - they don’t get much fresher than this!
Grab a kilo of fresh Mooloolaba Prawns for your next picnic.

Cruising

Take to the water on a relaxing cruise or an exhilarating jet boat ride. Sunshine Coast Afloat offers a thrilling experience, where you board Hela-Va jet and lock yourself in for high-speed action maneouvres on the open waterways. You can also join Whale One for a Marine Discovery Tour where lunch is served upon boarding followed by a cruise into the open water in search of dolphins, turtles and other marine species. Or, book a trip on Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba and enjoy a quality seafood lunch and beverages from a fully-licenced bar or board at sunset for cocktails. Coastal Cruises also run an evening cruise so you can watch the sun set over Mooloolaba Bay with a cocktail or two. From May to October board a Sunreef tour to swim with whales on their annual migratory journey.

Tequila sunsets on a Caloundra Coastal Cruise.
Tequila sunsets on a Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba evening cruise.

Epic events

Are you ready for another year of action packed fun and adventure in Mooloolaba? This amazing holiday destination doubles as busy centre for events and must-do experiences, from Christmas boat parades to renowned triathlons featuring the world's best athletes. See the complete line up for 2018 here.

Pack your lycra.
Pack your lycra and sunscreen. 

Take a 'doors off' flight in a seaplane

It's just a short drive from Mooloolaba to Maroochydore for an unforgettable adventure. Take off from the Maroochy River and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Sunshine Coast from the air. Paradise Seaplanes’ "Wilga Warbird" will take you on a joyride over some of the most picturesque parts of the Sunshine Coast. Forget about grabbing a window seat for the best view, this baby has more glass windows than a helicopter! You’ll cruise low and slow at around 500 feet, taking in magnificent views of the Maroochy River, Noosa and Mount Coolum, Caloundra and Pumicestone Passage, or up to Double Island Point in Gympie. For extra wow, upgrade to a ‘Touch the Sky - Doors Off’ tour.

Paradise Seaplanes
Life's a beach, and then you fly!

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